Hooray! Your exams are over! You're still feeling stressed? Don't worry, it's very common to feel that way. Here's how to cope with exam stress after the exam/ exams.
It's perfectly natural to analyse your exam performance. Everyone does it, however, the worst thing you can do is over analyse. The only outcome from picking apart each question and answer after the exam is that it will do your head in. Stop right now!
You are bound to listen to your classmates' tales of woe or elation after the exam and enter into discussions about how you feel it went for you. That's fine but don't dwell on it. You can't possibly know how the others really got on. You can't possibly know how each paper will be marked and you definitely can't know what the grade boundaries will turn out to be.
Comparing yourself to others after the exam is a waste of energy. There's nothing you can do until results day, so create a positive mantra for yourself to snap out of self-deprication.
It's over, you did your best, you don't know how everyone else in the country performed and guess what? IT'S OVER – get out there and enjoy yourself. You've probably spent months with your head stuck in revision books, so look up, get out there and enjoy what you have been missing in the big-wide-world.
Am I being too harsh? Maybe for how you feel right now, but I promise you that if you read this again in a couple of years' time, you'll agree with me 😉
Stay off Social Media
Don't be fooled by all you read on social media. I am sure you already know this, but people exaggerate and fabricate their lives, feelings and experiences on social platforms. Don't get sucked in by the attention seeking of others.
So what if the Math's paper was deemed difficult by half the teenage population and is featured negatively in the press? Can you do anything about this? No! If the paper was too difficult or too easy and the results come out too high or low, the grade boundaries will be adjusted accordingly.
You can't change what is in the past.
It's Good to Talk
It may help you to feel reassured or less stressed by talking to someone about your feelings. I would suggest a teacher rather than a friend or parents who are emotionally invested in you and will try to cheer you up. Talk to a teacher or mentor at school, college or uni. They will be able to give you advice and you will feel much better. Get all you have to say off your chest then move on.
I will repeat my above statement – You can't change what is in the past. You can, however, learn from it.
If you really, truly and honestly feel that you have flunked the exam, you can't go back and change the result but you can use the experience to your advantage.
Maybe you can implement the strategies to cope with exam stress earlier? Perhaps you need to ask for more study help? Whatever you feel the reason your exam went badly is, all you can do after the exam is learn from the experience and use this learning to your advantage next time.
The most important part of your education is not passing exams first time round or getting an A* every time, it's the learning experience. If you can use any adversity to your advantage and apply the lessons learned to real life, then you are way, way more intelligent than someone who sails through.
People buy people, not bits of paper.
I don't know of any employer in the world (and I recruit globally!) that would favour a straight A student with lots of certificates and no life skills over someone less academic that has matured and grown through learning from challenges or mistakes. None, not one, nada!
Life is a non-stop learning curve. Keep learning and growing throughout your teens and adulthood, then one day you will realise that you are much better than you think you are. That's a promise!
What are you waiting for?
Get out there, celebrate after the exam and enjoy what life has to offer you.
Did you feel stressed after your exams? How did you cope? It would be great to hear what you did and any positive achievements after exams. Please comment below.
Read part 1 in the series of coping with exam stress – before the exams here.
To read part 2 – during the exams, click here.
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